I’ll let the legal guys do the real analysis, but the Supreme Court decided today that executing the menally retarded is unconstitutional.
Reversing previous rulings, the Supreme Court ruled today that executing the mentally retarded constitutes cruel and unusual punishment and is therefore unconstitutional.
The court’s 6-3 ruling applies to mentally retarded killers and does not address the constitutionality of capital punishment in general.
That sounds about right to me, given our system. For the record, I’m against capital punishment, except for perhaps only the most extreme cases. I have no moral problem with it — if you take a life, then yours should be forfiet.
My problem is a practical one. Human justice is not perfect, and the death penalty, once executed (ha ha) cannot be commuted. Anyone who won’t admit that we’ve executed the innocent is lying either to themselves, others, or both.
But it’s also my job to admit that as written, our Constitution clearly envisions capital punishment. However, nothing I’ve read in there requires it, not for any crime.
UPDATE: From everything I’m reading on the legal blogs, the Supreme Court has made a pretty crappy decision, filled with weasel reasoning like “national consensus.” The only consensus they’re supposed to take into consideration is the one reached in Philly in 1787. And in the Court, process means as much, if not more than, result.
Of course, that still doesn’t make me a fan of the death penalty.